Cats are some of the most beautiful creatures in the world be it domestic or wild. While some breeds appear to be totally domesticated, there are others who haven’t rid of their wild instincts. Check out this list of amazing cat breeds who are extremely close to their wild counterparts!
A Serval is an actual wild cat that originates in Africa. It is one of the most exotic cats kept as a pet in the United States. The Serval is often mistaken for a cheetah except it has long pointed ears instead of round ones. This is one cat that definitely looks wild so it is quite surprising when seen as a housecat. Depictions of Servals are also found in ancient Egyptian art and were apparently kept by people since back in this time period. Although this cat does enjoy hunting small prey there have not been any documented cases of them killing humans thus far.
Believe it or not, people actually own bobcats in this day and age! Bobcats are often found in the wild but some people have begun to breed them in captivity. These cats are actually very strong and could kill an adult size human if they wanted to as they quite regularly hunt other large prey like deer. While no human deaths have been recently reported, there are countless reports of attacks so this is one breed that is quite surprising that people want to keep. Although when kept in captivity, Bobcats are said to be extremely loyal to their owners.
A Caracal is another kind cat that is found naturally in the wild and is also kept as a pet. They are a type of lynx that originally is found in the continents of Africa and Asia. These cats can achieve a relatively large size and upwards of 30 to 50 pounds. Caracals often communicate through hissing, which sounds terrifying, although it doesn’t mean they are actually threatening anyone or anything. Caracals are also one of the most traditionally cat-like of the list. They play like you would expect cats to and are also known to be destructive inside of a household and can even destroy furniture.
A Savannah cat is a breed that was first created in 1986 by a breeder named Judee Frank. The cat was created by crossing a regular house cat with an African Serval. The first offspring of the pairing is referred to as an “F1” and was thought to be far too wild to be owned as pets. However, the F1 was then bred with another hybrid resulting in kittens that are far tamer.
Although much of the Serval genes have been watered down, the breed definitely maintains some of its wildness. It is the largest of all domestic cats and has powerful legs allowing them to leap extremely far distances. They are often described as being similar to a pet dog as opposed to a regular house cat. They are also illegal to own in certain states.
A Bengal cat has existed since 1963 and began with a geneticist named Jean Sugden-Mills. The breed is thought to be one of the oldest of the exotic domestic crossbreeds. The Bengal was created by crossing a domestic cat and an Asian leopard cat. Although Sugden-Mills is often credited as the creator of the breed, there have allegedly been naturally occurring crossbreeds in Asia. The oldest documented case was in 1934. Like other exotic cats, they are bred a few generations before they are considered to be domesticated enough for a housecat. These cats are also quite large and are known for their distinctive and beautiful markings. They are known to be quite playful and demand quite a bit of attention.
The Toyger was created after breeder Judy Sugden sought to breed a cat that would look like a smaller version of a tiger complete with its distinctive stripes. The breed has been around since the 1980s and was created by mixing domestic shorthaired tabbies and Bengals. Judy said that the original inspiration for creating the breed was to bring attention to tiger conservation in the wild. This Toyger is quite a bit smaller than the rest of the exotic breeds on the list and far closer to the size of a regular domesticated cat. They are known to be very playful and intelligent and also get along well with other pets.
The Ocicat is another breed that has existed for quite some time, the first case of the breed coming about in 1964. The cat’s name is taken from the ocelot, although it named purely for its similar appearance, it does not have an actual genetic relation. The cat was created by a breeder named Virginia Daly, who bred Abyssinian, Siamese, and American Shorthair cats resulting in this very pretty kitty. The first kitten was named Tonga, and it had ivory fur with golden spots. Although, now these cats are found in a variety of shades. This is yet another breed that is reminiscent of a dog and some of them even enjoy playing fetch!
A Chausie is a hybrid cat derived from the Jungle Cat which originates in Asia. These cats are similar to the Savannah or Bengal breeds. This cat grows relatively larger, especially if you decide to have one lurking around your house. They can reach up to thirty-five pounds and three feet long. Like many of the other exotic breeds, it is necessary for several generations to breed out in order for them to be considered safe for people to own as housecats. These cats are said to be very playful and intelligent. They are also known to be extremely loyal and do well to have one owner throughout the entirety of their life.
Despite its cutesy name, the Cheetoh cat has no relation to Chester the Cheetah. This breed got its name because it was bred only to look like a wildcat. The breed is considered relatively ew, and was created in order to create a cat that looked as close to a wild cat as possible while maintaining the domesticity of a house cat. Breeder Carol Drymon was the first to create the breed back in 2001. She created the cat by breeding a Bengal and an Ocicat. These cats are on the large side reaching upwards of twenty pounds. This is the type of cat that might be mistaken for an actual wild cat if it were to get out of your house. Despite its wild look, breeders maintain that it is safe to have around children.
The exotically named Serengeti cat was created by breeder Karen Sausman in 1994. She aimed to create a cat that looked similar to the wild Serval without actually containing any of its genetics. She was able to create the impressive looking animal by crossbreeding the Bengal and an Oriental Shorthair. The cat has since been bred with a number of other exotic breeds with the exception of the Serval. Although, it does have the Asian leopard cat in its genes. These cats are known to be very active and also enjoy a close bond with their owner.
Out of all the exotic mixtures on the list, the Pixiebob actually started due to a natural mating occurrence. Carol Ann Brewer adopted a bob-tail cat that she observed in the wild back in 1985. Then the cat ended up mating with a neighbor’s regular old house cat, creating the Pixiebob. Although this mating was not necessarily the first, apparently in the Cascade Mountain region of Washington state, such occurrences are quite common. These cats are quite tall and are also often polydactyl meaning they have up to seven toes! While these cats somewhat resemble their wild relatives, it is obviously evident that they are domestic cats. Despite their supposed wild ancestry, they are said to be good pets.
The Canadian lynx is a cat found in the wild in parts of Canada, Alaska and sometimes other Northern areas within the United States. In some ways, these cats are like regular housecats who have a fondness for climbing, and can often be found perched in high places. They are also known to be calmer than a bobcat although they certainly still look like wild cats. People who own these animals often keep them in outside enclosures because in addition to climbing they are known to shed quite a bit! This cat is most identifiable by its Grinch-like ear tufts which are common with most lynx cats.
Fishing cats are one of the least common wild cats found in the United States as pets. This is because in order to have this cat within the country you must be licensed as they are underneath a wildcat advisory. They are found mostly in USDA licensed facilities. These cats are also considered to be endangered in the wild and in other countries are more commonly found as pets than in the U.S. The Fishing Cat is a wildcat originally found in Southeast Asia where they live mostly in the wetlands and love the water, hence their name.
Geoffroy’s cat takes their name from the French naturalist Geoffroy St. Hilaire. These cats are often threatened in the wild due to a fur trade, although the threat has lessened in recent years. These cats also have the felid tag like the fishing cat which means you must have a license in order to own them. They originate in Southern and Central South America and are a very small wildcat. Actually, they are one of the smallest wild cat species only growing to a tiny four to eight pounds in adulthood. This is why some humans desire to own them as they do not pose a threat to human beings.
A jungle cat is a naturally occurring wildcat found mostly in Asia, Sri Lanka and Egypt. They are the largest of all the Felis species. While these cats are often bred with domesticated cats in order to make species like the Chausie and the Jungle Bob, some people attempt to own them as housecats although it is not common. These cats do not do as well as others in captivity and would need privacy if owned by a private owner. It’s also recommended that if kept in captivity they have their own enclosure. Although, it has been reported that these cats can live up to twenty years in captivity!
Asian Leopard Cat
The Asian Leopard Cat is another one of the most commonly used wildcats for breeding with domesticated cats to produce breeds like the Bengal. These cats are also known to have nocturnal living habits. They are wary of humans and tend to gravitate towards being solitary. For this reason, they are not recommended as house pets. Of course, people still attempt to keep them. They need their own large enclosure and have been known to do okay with one owner but only if they are interacted with in a regular fashion. These cats are not as commonly found living as domestic pets. Some of the subspecies are also endangered and thus you are not able to get a license to own them.
The Ashera cat is the most controversial cat on the list because it was first brought to the wildcat market by a company called Lifestyle Pets. They claimed the Ashera was a hybrid cat between the African Serval, the Asian Leopard Cat, and a domestic house cat. However, it was later uncovered that the truth of the matter is that the Ashera was not a new breed at all but actually a Savannah cat. Lifestyle Pets had simply bought the cats from another breeder and then resold them as their own, which is a huge no-no in the world of animal breeding. The truth was not uncovered until some of the cats were DNA tested. The company also attempted to sell the cats for far more than a Savannah cat with individual cats selling as high as $125,000.
The Junglebob has quite the interesting name which is derived from the crossbreeding of a Pixiebob and a Jungle Cat. They were first originated back in the early 1990s. The Junglebob is a medium to a large sized cat, and the cat was created with the goal of designing a hybrid with a spotted coat. These cats are easily identifiable because of their large mane akin to a lion. They also often have a short tail and are polydactyl. They also share a lynx eared look. The Junglebob’s face is also reminiscent of the Maine Coone cat, which is a large domestic housecat, although it’s unclear if they share any genetics since crossbreeding is prevalent.
Mokave Jag Cat
The Mokave Jag Cat was first created in the year 2000 by breeder Nora Scholin. The cat is quite large and very much looks like a wildcat. Its markings are similar to a jaguar which is where it gets its name. It also has lynx-like ears and a bobtail. Despite its exotic appearance, the cat has also been bred to have a calm temperament and is intended to be a house cat. According to those who own them, these cats are said to be very friendly and are actually good with children and other pets. Many people believe them to make good companions.
The Safari Cat
The Safari Cat was first bred in the 1970s although it was not registered until 2013. It is a hybrid breed that was created through the breeding of the Geoffrey Cat. According to breeders, these cats are very hard to breed and people often attempt to scam buyers by passing off other cats as a safari cat. Back in the 1970s, the cats were originally used in leukemia research. The cat has markings that definitely give it the wild look but they are quite small and similar sized to the domestic. They are also known to be very affectionate and sweet cats.
The Egyptian Mau
The Egyptian Mau is a strikingly beautiful cat breed. This cat was created to resemble leopards and cheetah’s which is easy to spot thanks to their coat and markings on their body. The Mau is very rare but is starting to gain more attention because of its beautiful appearance. If you don’t like chasing your pets around the house you might want to avoid this domesticated cat breed – they are known as one of the fasted domesticated cat breeds. You can expect to pay $500 to $800 for one of these unique and playful kittens not a bad price for a rare domesticated cat breed.
The Bombay isn’t your typical black cat. This beautiful domesticated feline was bred specifically to resemble one of the best hunters among the wild cats, the panther! An American breeder set out to make a miniature version of the jungle cat and they succeeded. This cat is muscular, features an amazing coat, and bright yellow eyes that would make any panther jealous. As an added bonus, this cat is very sociable and perfect for families with children. In the 1950s, breeder Nikki Horner of Louisville, Kentucky created the breed by crossing sable Burmese with black American Shorthairs.
The Abyssinian with its golden fur and tabby patterns was bred to resemble a lion! The cat’s almond-shaped eyes with their wild expressions also add to the allure of a domesticated cat that looks like something straight out of Africa. This breed of cat is incredibly intelligent. Just be warned that they are known to grow depressed if they don’t have a lot of playtime with their human owner. You might want to consider two Abyssianians if you work long hours and don’t have enough time to devote to them at all times of the day.
There is still debate as to whether the Siberian Lynx is a separate species of cat or a sub-species of the Canadian and Iberian Lynxes. We don’t recommend owning this cat as a domesticated pet yet there are people who allow them to live in their homes. A male cat can weigh upwards of 90 pounds and they are spotted easily because of their grayish fur with tints of yellowish to rusty coloring. If you have nice furniture be warned, the Siberian Lynx is known for some destructive behavior, especially went left alone to its own vices for too long.
The Margay is the little cousin to the ocelot, weighing only 8 pounds on average. You can spot them because they have the same reddish nose and amazing markings as their older cousin. They also feature larger eyes than the ocelot in proportion to their head. This beautiful cat is a native of South America. They love to eat small birds and rodents so bird lovers beware. The Margay is a nocturnal creature that loves to spend a majority of their time hanging out in trees. Hopefully, if you purchase one of these beautiful cats you don’t spend most of your time on the phone with the fire department.
Want a cat that doesn’t resemble a big cat but still exhibits that “wild” look? Check out the upcoming furry felines.
The Rusty-Spotted Cat
While the Rusty-Spotted cat doesn’t resemble a lion, tiger, or any other big cat, it is a special wild breed. This cat species might only be two pounds in weight but they make up for it with some impressive hunting skills. Rusty-Spotted cats are native to India and Sri Lanka. They are a reclusive cat who hunt only at night. They eat everything from insects and rodents to lizards! You could own one of these cats and not even realize it because they so closely resemble the domesticated house cats we have come to know and love in recent times.
European Wild Cat
The European Wild Cat is found throughout much of Europe and as far east as Turkey. This species is generally larger than domesticated cats and can weigh upwards of 20 pounds. You can spot this cat because of its dorsal stripe, a full tail, and hair that is shorter than domesticated felines. This breed is a subspecies of the African wildcat. They are similar enough to tabby cats that even experts struggle to identify them when in the field.
If you don’t necessarily need a cat that looks like a big cat the Russian Blue might be the right choice for your home. This cat features a sparkling, silvery blue coat and a pair of brilliant green eyes that will pierce your soul. The Russian Blue still looks wild because it’s not commonly seen inside the home. This species is highly intelligent and very playful. The Russian Blue is even known to be sensitive to its owner’s moods and can adapt quickly. Like many domesticated cats, they can be shy towards strangers. They require little maintenance but can be very expensive to purchase at an average cost of $3,000.
The Sokoke comes to us from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Preserve in the heart of Kenya. This breed is now fully domesticated. Interestingly, this cat was first brought into the home by a horse breeder who mistook them for a wildcat with wildcat tendencies. When he took the Sokoke into his home he immediately noticed their docile house pet nature. If you are looking for the perfect loving and smart cat this might be the breed you have been seeking. The Sokoke is known for quickly bonding with it humans. Unfortunately, it is also one of rarest cat breeds in the world.
Do you love peaches? Then you’ll love the Peterbald! Okay, that sounded a bit strange but this cat can be hairless or feature a coat that feels just like a peach! The Peterbald was first bred in Russian and has since become a favorite among buyers looking for a “velvety” feeling feline. If you want to own this rare breed be prepared to pay $5,000. Just keep in mind that some of the cats in this breed actually have hair that feels like a man’s bristly beard. Either way, your cat will be the talk among all your cat loving friends.
The Bristol Cat
The Bristol cat looks a lot like the ocelot because it was bred as a cross between a domestic cat and a wild Margary. It’s unclear if this cat still exists as a domesticated breed. The lineage of the cat was slowly dying out because of infertility issues. Today, the margay and the American Shorthair are occasionally bred to offer this crossbreed to the public. If you do get your hands on a true Bristol can you can expect to pay thousands of dollars and you might not be raising what you paid for so buyer beware when looking for this breed.
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If you don’t mind a cat that likes to play the role of prankster you’ll love the Devon Rex. With their big eyes and pointed ears that resemble an elf, they practically scream troublemaker. Not only are they pranksters, they are also incredibly smart and will keep you on your toes. Their owns love to call them the “elves” or “pixies” of the cat world and it really shows on their face. This is a short-haired breed you can find in England, where they have been available since 1959. They are incredibly affectionate cats and tend to stay out of trouble when you give them lots of your love.
The Chartreux hails from France and it’s most obvious and striking feature is a pair of bright orange eyes. This breed is also available with copper eyes which are less obvious. It’s a very smart cat, highly sociable, and very intelligent. Just keep in mind that owners have said it requires a lot of maintenance to own this cat because of frequent shedding. As a rare breed, you’ll definitely have your cat-loving friends talking about your amazing feline at your next house party. Even for a very rare breed you can still pick one of these beautiful creatures up for around $750.
This desert cat is on the verge of being a threatened species. This breed was first spotted back in 1926 in Turkmenistan by a Russian zoologist. The sand cat (also called the sand dune cat) is the only type of cat that can live in the desert and can be found in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. This cats have adapted to the lack of water and hot climate with thicky furry feet and are able to withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.
Native to South America, the Pampas cat has a unique looking face with a big nose and a funny expression. They’re small but heavy and are identified by the two dark lines they have on each cheek. They’ve been known to hunt rodents and birds at night, and residents have had to chase them away from their chickens. The Pampas cat hasn’t been studied much, but researchers have found that they have a wide variety of sizes.
Asian Golden Cat
This breed of cat is definitely on the wild side! This medium-sized wild cat is found in Southeast Asia. Sadly, the Asian Golden Cat’s habitat is disappearing, as the forests in Southeast Asia are rapidly becoming victim to deforestation. This cat has a heavy build (just look at those paws!) and may be marked with either spots or stripes. In China, they’ve been seen with leopard-like spots, although this is rare. They’re about three times the size of a domestic cat, at 20-35 pounds.
Chinese Mountain Cat
This gorgeous kitty can we found in western China, and live in the mountains and desert. The Chinese Mountain Cat has beautiful markings with faint dark horizontal stripes, black tips on their ears, and bear black rings on their tail. They are acclimated to the high elevation (between 8,2000 – 16,400 ft!) and live on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Sadly this breed is disappearing and is rarely spotted unless in a Chinese zoo.
This interesting looking cat lives on the island of Borneo, located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean near Malaysia. The Bay cat has a small head, with a long body and tail. Their fur is a bright chestnut color with dark grey on the backs of their ears and dark stripes coming from their eyes. Their belly and chin is white. The Bay cat is a relative of the Asian golden cat, but much smaller.
Flat Headed Cat
At first glance, this doesn’t even resemble a cat! The Flat Headed Cat is native to Sumatra and Thailand. They’re very rare and get their name from the depression in their skull. This petite cat only weighs in between 3.3-5.5 pounds. But don’t let their small appearance fool you. The Flat Headed Cat has extremely sharp teeth, jaw, and some crazy long retractable claws. Meaning, don’t try to pet this cuddly looking kitty.
The Jaguarundi has a long body and tail with short legs. This breed of cat doesn’t have markings and is either blackish/brownish grey or a chestnut color. They’re found in Southern Texas and coastal Mexico, as well as South America. Their weight has a wide range too, from 3.5 to 9.1 pounds. Compared to other breeds, this wild cat species has luckily managed to maintain a healthy population. The Jaguarundi has been placed on the Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.